Saturday, September 26, 2015

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, mini movie review

Rating: 2.75 out of 5 stars

Hmmmm . . . where do I start?

The first movie was entertaining.  I liked parts of it, but not so much to get around to reviewing it.  I found an old draft version of that review, giving it a 3.75.

This movie, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, is all over the place.

It starts where the last movie ends with The Gladers, aka those who survived the Maze Runner, being flown to safety.  They find themselves at a base, protected from Zombie creatures and the harsh outside elements.  After a short interrogation and exam, they quickly discover that they were not the only maze.  There's a lot of kids who are Maze survivors, as there were many mazes created to test these kids and what not.  (The "what not" and "so forth" was never explained.  What was the point of the maze, again?  It has something to do with The Flare, but explaining further would be giving away some of the plot, which I'm already in super danger of doing.)

We learn that the World is topsy-turvy weather-wise, global warming??, and that most of mankind has been wiped out by a disease called The Flare.  Most of The Gladers are immune to the flare.  Turns out all the other mazes were filled with immunes, as well.

Honestly, I had a hard time being completely engaged with the film.  There were interesting moments, but an overall weak story line.  It's really just the kids moving from one location to another, being chased by zombies, with plot points and new characters scattered here and there for good measure.

At one point in the middle of the movie my Mom began to exclaim, "Wait!  What!? This is a zombie movie!!??  I didn't pay to see a zombie movie!!!???"  She wasn't happy.

As a note, I haven't read the books, but I read all the confusing summaries on wikipedia, and it's crazy how different this movie is from the book.  If you're a fan of the book, you wont like the movie.

MPAA: Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of violence and action, some thematic elements, substance use and language. 

  I really don't care in seeing how this all ends . . .

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

My Youngest Brother is Married!!!! AHHHHH!!!

 Boy, time sure flies by fast.

I can't believe last weekend has come and gone.  I Can't Believe My Youngest Brother is MARRIED!!!!!  You guys, he's 9 years younger then me.  Once upon a time I used to change his diapers and make him formula.  His FIRST WORD ever was "Sarah," before Mama and Dada. (I'm not joking.  It was.  I may have coached him.)  Goodness, and all those hours babysitting.  Being the oldest bears its responsibilities.

And now Robbie is married.


 And so happy.

 After Krista handed Lindsay the bouquet, my 5 yr. old niece decided to come up to them and hand Lindsay a flower she just plucked.

All the kids were picking flowers to pass the time.

(I wonder if there's a withered flower in my purse that my niece gave me . . . )

 Soon all the kids were rushing up to give flower tops and get hugs.

Lindsay then nestled each flower within her bouquet.

 The kids getting into a watery mess.

 My Grandma A and Grandpa R sharing an umbrella.

My Grandma was smart.  She didn't get sunburned.

Note to self: Use sunscreen.  It was invented for a reason.


 My nephew enjoying the chocolate mouse. *^-^*

 My 3 year old niece told me she was experimenting.

There were two water containers: One with citrus at the bottom and the other with purple grapes.

So she poured two glasses and started mixing them together "to get a new taste."

She's got a scientific mind!!!

The evening ended with Robbie, Lindsay, and friends doing an improv skit, everyone in the background recreating what Robbie and Lindsay will experience on their honeymoon.

Robbie and Lindsay met while attending this improv group.  I think Robbie had some kind of leadership position in the group, helping to arrange meeting places and so forth.  Lindsay, who was in my cousin Jordan's singles ward (Jordan is pictured above attempting a selfie right above a volcano), decided to try the group out, getting out of her comfort zone as an introvert.  And the rest is history!!

Soon after Lindsay and Robbie left in a rented car, complete with a driver.  That was my brother Michael's gift to them.  After Michael and Krista were married a few + years ago, their car was covered with food items (Oreo's, sliced cheese, etc), and the first thing they had to do was find an operating car wash around 9-10 pm at night.  Not fun.  Bad start to their honeymoon.  Michael didn't want Robbie and Lindsay to have the same experience.  And so the reception ended with class.

And now they're having the time of their life in Hawaii :0)

Monday, September 21, 2015

September 2015 POPSUGAR Must Have Box Review

 I'm not reviewing the September box on October 1st!

Victory right there.

 POPSUGAR Must Have is a monthly subscription lifestyle box for gals.  The cost is $39.95 a month, free shipping, but it's cheaper when you subscribe with a 3, 6, or 12 months subscription.  On any month you can receive goodies for home, a book, fitness, snack, makeup, pampering, fashion, etc.  You never know what you're going to get, only that it will be fun and worth around $100, give or take a little.

 The reveal.

The info behind the items.

This was the big spoiler item for this box.

I keep my eyebrows trimmed, but I don't color them, though I should, because they're blonde and blend into my face.  It's nice getting items I should be using, but don't.  It comes with setting wax, highlighter, two shades you can mix together, tweezers, brush, shaping brush, and shaping stencils.

"A luxe vitamin E oil treatment that promotes strong and healthy nails for a look that says, “I’ve never worked a day in my life."

I used this last night, and I love smell and how it made my cuticles feel. 

These little stud earrings are so cute.  I like simple jewelry, and I don't have anything like this, so these will be fun.  They are 14 k gold over recycled brass with the studs made out of surgical steel.

This travel bag is well made well, and since I'm preparing for an awesome trip, this travel bag is going to be handy.  The clear pouch is TSA friendly.

And within the clear pouch there are two more bags, a shoe bag + an intimate bag, which is an awesome idea.

I love this item.  I used it yesterday and it smells so good and made my hair so soft. This may easily turn out to be my favorite item in the box!

From the website: "One product—multiple benefits. This leave-in conditioning spray enhances hair's softness, strength, manageability, and moisture levels while acting as a barrier against heat. The antioxidant-rich, milky blend contains a unique complex of nutrient-rich argan, rosehip, and coconut oils for superior nourishment without weighing hair down. It helps protect the hair from UV and free-radical damage, reduces frizz, and hydrates for hair that is smooth and healthy-looking."

Plus there are no phthalates or parabens.

Heh, I completely forgot I got this snack.  It looks really healthy.  I like almonds.

The coupons.

Overall I really like this box.  It's a win for me.  Maybe I'm just liking more practical boxes, because I know I'll use everything, but there's a good balance of items between fashion, makeup, and useful items.

And this is the spoiler theme for next months box.


Friday, September 18, 2015

In What World Does Gaston beat Maleficent? Heroes VS Villains, Disney Style

It's become tradition now that when my Dad takes my Grandpa to Sensuous Sandwich for lunch, he texts me a photo of the latest tip leader board.  These last few months have been all about the heroes and villains of the Disneyverse.

At the beginning my bet was on Stitch, because he's awesome.  I mean, have you seen the first several minutes of Lilo and Stitch?  You don't even have to finish the movie to know he can win any battle.

Side Note:  How in the World did Kuzco beat Flynn Rider?  That makes no sense!  I mean, Flynn, when given an iron skillet, is unbeatable.  Throw in Rapunzel's hair and he can't be stopped.

Then I found out Baymax beat Stitch!  Sure, that lovable robot's got some mad skill, but Stitch would pulverize him.

And then my Dad texted me the above picture.

Me: In what World does Gaston beat Maleficent!!!!!!!???????

Dad: I know . . . silly people.

Me: -_-;;

Dad: Stitch Forever.

Me:  Yup!!  Stitch, pre-character development--as in beginning of movie vs end--could have beat all of them, at the same time.  He's like the Chuck Norris of the Disney world.

Dad: :D

I''ve lost all faith in humanity.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Preparations for My Brother's Wedding

(My nieces trying on shoes)

Over the weekend I went to the mall with my sister-in-law Krista, nieces, nephew, and Mom.  All of us braving these store fronts on a busy night, with the hope that we'll actually find what we need.  Shoes for the nieces; shoes and shirt for Krista's bridesmaid outfit.

Thankfully we found the shoes right away.  And I had the opportunity to get another pair because the sale was 'buy one get one 1/2 off,' but I quickly grew frustrated (shoes are fun, but I'm honestly not into them), and at the end of that shopping experience I told my Mom, "You know, we'll save more money if I don't get a pair."  Mom and Krista laughed, seeing my logic, and we left, getting the girls a snack, because they were growing restless.

Finding Krista a shirt was the big challenge, because it had to closely match the color of the wedding dress swatch and be special occasion appropriate.

I think we managed to go through every single clothing store and boutique in the mall.  Halfway through my Mom took the kids home.  And Krista and I just looked at each other with the agreement that, "When we find this thing, we're gone."

Learned something interesting: It seems a lot of the boutiques shop from the same companies getting the same pieces . . . 

Naturally we found the shirt at the very last store in the mall, at the other end where we started.  But then, if we found this shirt at the beginning, switching where we started, we probably would have still gone through all the stores, wondering if we'd find something better. 

You know, there's a life metaphor in that.

It was fun.  Clothes shopping has its limits.

Glad we found success.

C'est fini!!!

I just realized my Grandmother doesn't have a dress . . . 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

What I Learned While NOT Earning a Yellow/Green Belt in Taekwondo

"Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe." ~ Saint Augustine

It's hard to know where to start.

I'm no longer participating in Taekwondo, but the journey to this point I'm at now was a little unexpected and eye opening.

My disgruntlement began several months ago.  My Mom was pressured into doing Taekwondo, signing a 6 month contract, without being given the chance to try the class out.  She had to sign up on the spot to get a discount on the uniform and equipment.  Honestly, we should have thought this through, but her doing Taekwondo seemed like such a good idea.  My Mom only took 2-3 classes before she realized this sport wasn't for her at all, but she signed the 6 month contract, so we payed for her in full, honoring the contract, even though she only attended those 2-3classes.  There was no forgiveness or understanding on their end, but we accepted the terms and conditions and followed through with the financial commitment.

A few months later Robbie decided to drop out of Taekwondo due to his upcoming wedding and new job.  We were informed at the start that a 60 day notice must be submitted, in which we pay an extra two months in addition to our cancellation.  (You can take class during those final 2 months, but that's so they can lure you back in.)  My brother submitted his 60 day notice around the 23rd of the month, giving a good week before the end of the month.  We found out that he had to submit the email around the 20th, because of how they charge the credit cards (10 days before the start of the next month).  They weren't going to honor my brothers 60 day notice, technically a 67 day notice, on account of 3 days, and was going to bill us for 3 additional months, not 2.  We were never told to submit the 60 day notice before the 20th.  We did fight back and win, but we shouldn't have had to go through that stress.

The studio I was attending was quickly appearing petty and greedy.

Fast foreword in time.

A couple months later Michael realized he needed to drop out as well, for job and family reasons.

I was going to stay committed.  I was going to finish my goal.  Being the final member of my family didn't bother me.  I was attending the woman's class in the morning and only met up with my brothers during testing. I really hate quitting anything.  The road to a black belt is long, hard, and super expensive.

But things were starting to change in my own life.  Small, but significant changes.

This is an excerpt from my 60 day notice submitted on August 19th:

“There's been some changes in my life, mainly the opportunity to have dance in my life again, after 20+ years.  Scottish dancing, to be specific.  Strange, I know, but it comes from the fact that Robbie's fiance does Scottish Dancing, and her sister teaches, competes, and performs in various places.
“As I've prayed and realized the financial, time, class schedule, etc of Scottish dance, there were conflicts building up between dance and Taekwondo.  It became abundantly clear a few weeks ago that I was going to have to choose between the two.
“I talked this over with my Grandfather, who has been very supportive of Taekwondo, and out of no where he started giving me an inspirational speech (he NEVER gives inspirational speeches) that I should do what I love and what my heart is telling me.  We were standing outside, and while he was speaking there was suddenly, somewhere in the distance, a bagpipe started playing a Scottish tune.  And when my Grandfather finished his speech the bagpipe stopped.  My Grandpa has very poor hearing and couldn't hear it.  But my Mom, Aunt, and I looked at each other with disbelief.  I felt the spirit in the moment.  And a couple days later when I was retelling the experience to my Dad there was an outpouring of the spirit that cannot be denied.  I'm supposed to choose Scottish dancing.  It's a part of my heritage.  The why's I don't understand, but I'm trusting God in this.  In the last month I've been pushed in this direction, feet dragging, but it feels right."
I thought everything was fine.  They got my email.  This chapter was closed.

Then a couple days ago, September 10th, I got a phone call from the master of the studio, inquiring if I was fine and worried over my lack of attendance.  (I haven't seen her in three months.)  I mentioned my 60 day notice, and she said it was never received.

After some inquiry later, I realized they have two fully functioning websites, and I had went to the older one and used an email that she claims has been canceled.  (Anyone who has sent an email to a non functioning address quickly gets a message informing them of a delivery fail.  I didn't receive such a message.)  Quickly I was accused of lying.  She told me to send an email with proof, a link to the website I got the email from (she didn't realize her older, fully functioning, totally legit looking, and popping up at the top of google searches, website was still online.  Someone needs to pull it down.)  She wasn't going to honor my 60 day notice, instead starting the 60 days from when I send the second email. The conversation grew heated.  She never once admitted to the existence, or apologize, for the studio having two websites, with the second website having older, recently outdated information.  I stood my ground.  Didn't buckle.  My Mom did at one point take the phone, shocked and bewildered, and stood her ground as well.  In the end we won.  And when the phone was given back to me I hard nothing but a "Thank you, good buy, okay" repeated over again, in a sickeningly sweet, strict voice.

For the first time I saw the master of the studio's true colors.  I thought she truly cared for me, but honestly I was nothing more then a walking dollar sign.  I experienced her pride and lack of Integrity.

The 5 tenants of Taekwondo are as followed: Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self Control, Indomitable Spirit.  We recite these tenants at the beginning of each class.  I was learning Integrity from someone who didn't possess it.

It was through faith that I realized I needed to quit Taekwondo.  Now I have my proof.

And that day I proved my Indomitable Spirit.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Pokemon in the Real World!!!

Pokemon in the real World.  Just think of it.

Traveling about to catch real Pokemon.

That's what the new Smartphone game, for Android and iPhone, will be like.

Pokemon GO!

And a handy trailer was just unveiled in all its epicness.

You wear this watch like device that vibrates when you get near a Pokemon, and then you catch it, and are able to battle Pokemon with other players.  Sounds cool.  I'm curious to see how it'll actually work.

The game will be free with in-app purchases--you know what that means--and the price for the watch like device hasn't been announced.

I guess this will be a good way to get people moving about while gaming, instead of sitting in front of a computer, T.V., handheld.  That aspect will be fun.

Pokemon GO will be released in 2016.  This is the article I read regarding the announcement: Pokemon GO for iOS and Android brings Pokemon into the real world.

Note 1: I think it's funny that the commercial shows adults in their 20's and 30's, probably because we can afford stuff now, and grew up with Pokemon. (Though I was in late High School when it became super popular.  My siblings lived through the school hype, and I watched the show with them, not really playing the game.)  Still, adults getting excited over Pokemon.

Confession: I'm excited.

Note 2: Those cards pictured at top of this blog post are mine.  No, I never actually learned how to play, I just bought the cards with best of intentions and never got around to it.

I still need to play Alpha Sapphire on my 3DS . . .

Note 3: Can you believe they've been making Pokemon games for 20 years?

How old do you feel?

How old?

Monday, September 7, 2015

Santa Barbara Revisited

 It's probably safe to say that I've visited Santa Barbara every year for the last 20 years of my life, many years with multiple visits.  Since my Grandfather sold his home in Ventura last November, I figured making the visit would become few and far between.  Luckily this last girls trip to the central coast offered a jaunt to this beautiful place.

I appreciated this visit a whole lot more, because I don't know when I'll be able to visit again.  It might be years, which will be weird, honestly.  We visited many of our favorite places.

 The Paseo Nuevo outdoor mall.  And a little ways down State Street is a silver store we always visit, which offers good prices.  It's always fun to see what treasures can be gleaned.

 The Dolphins are Blue!

 We ate at the Breakwater restaurant, more for sentimental sake.  There's a lot of restaurants in that area I've wanted to try!  But my Grandfather is a creature of habit, and he ate there because his dog, Ginger, could join us on the patio.  I got the Salmon meal, which was yummy as always.  Unfortunately my Mom, Aunt, and Grandmother didn't have as great an experience with their food, which isn't typical for this place.

 I have so many fond memories of the marina.

 Seeing this bridge makes me want to run down it and visit the boats.  I miss visiting my Grandpa's boat, which was sold a couple years ago.  If you want a great nights sleep, I recommend sleeping on a boat.  The gentle roll of the ocean is so soothing.

True story: When I was 14 I had jaw surgery and was sewn shut for 9 1/2 weeks, having to carry wire cutters with me in case I started throwing up or some other case of emergency.  To this day my Mom can't believe she let me go sailing.  As we would do back then, we took the boat on a short ride around an oil rig and back.  On the way there I was fine, but then started getting sea sick, so I went below to take a nap, which was really rocky.  Thankfully nothing bad happened, but I don't like to imagine if something had.  BTW: When I was sewn shut it's interesting that I discovered eating to be something I quickly stopping craving.  I forgot what food taste like.  It was singing, not being able to sing, that was the hardest.

 A beautiful sunset at the marina.

This is how I want to remember Santa Barbara.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

That Man Might Know the Glories of Creation

 "God left the world unfinished for man to work his skill upon. He left the electricity in the cloud, the oil in the Earth.  He left the rivers unbridged and the forests unfelled and the cities inbuilt.  God gives to man the challenge of raw materials, . . not the ease of finished things.  He leaves the pictures unpainted and the music unsung and the problems unsolved . . . That man might know the joys and glories of creation."

~ Thomas S. Monson

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Everyone is Fighting a Battle: How to Overcome Addiction

A few days ago the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints released a set of videos that highlight each of the 12 recovery steps for addiction: Honesty, Hope, Trust in God, Truth, Confession, Change of heart, Humility, Forgiveness, Restitution and Reconciliation, Daily Accountability, Personal Revelation, and Service.

These videos are each told by someone who has gone through the program, and they are deep, pulling no punches.

These videos are powerful.  Even though I don't have a major addiction--I do deal with emotional eating and intense sugar cravings, which I'm working through--each of these videos touched me in one way or another.  Addiction is real.  It's overwhelming.  And even though addiction is incredibly powerful, Christ's love and atonement is even more powerful.

Through Christ all things can be healed and forgiven.  Weak things can become strong.

And even if many of us can't completely relate to some of these stories, we can relate to the need for change.

Plato once said: "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle."

We are each fighting our battles, and all these battles we fight can be won.

Define our situation; don't let our situations define us.

Addiction can be overcome.

To watch all the videos you can go to Mormon Channel where they list the videos in order:

Friday, September 4, 2015

This Life Is Pretty Amazing

"You can be excellent in every way. You can be first class. There is no need for you to be a scrub. Respect yourself. Do not feel sorry for yourself. Do not dwell on unkind things others may say about you. Polish and refine whatever talents the Lord has given you. Go forward in life with a twinkle in your eye and a smile on your face, but with great and strong purpose in your heart. Love life and look for its opportunities." ~ Gordon B. Hinckley 

 I miss Gordon B. Hinkley.

This sentiment is good to remember.

It is so easy to become caught up in life's chaos. Let us focus on what's important, truly important.  Let us never forget how blessed we are.  Even when life gives us hardships we still have so much to be thankful.  I have so much to be thankful.  So much to give.  So much to embrace.

This life is pretty amazing.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

A Trek to the Coast: Moonstone Beach

 At the end of June my Mom, Grandma, Aunt, and I visited the California Central Coast.  It was mainly a chance for us to visit some extended family, as my Grandma's sister just passed away, but the trip also afforded us a few chances to visit the Ocean.

Here we're visiting Moonstone beach, which is located next to Cambria.

I never tire of those wooden walkways, nor those super friendly squirals, which are always a source of great amusement.

 A picture of us taking a picture :P

 My 1st cousin once removed, Mom, and Aunt.

 Breathtaking, isn't it?

 Cambria, you will always be in my heart.

This is where I visit when I dream.